Studies were conducted in northern Bohemia to simultaneously evaluate personal exposures to air pollution in the form of respirable particles containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and biomarkers of exposure, biological effective dose, genetic effects, and metabolic susceptibility. The series of biomarkers included PAH metabolites in urine, urine mutagenicity, PAH-DNA adducts in white blood cells determined by 32P-postlabeling, PAH-albumin adducts determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), DNA damage in lymphocytes detected by comet assay, chromosomal aberrations, sister chromatid exchanges, and glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) genotypes. For these studies, a group of women who work outdoors about 30% of their daily time was selected. In a pilot study, a group of women from a polluted area of the Teplice district (northern Bohemia) was compared with a group of women from a control district of southern Bohemia (Prachatice). In a follow-up repeated-measures study, a group of nonsmoking women from Teplice was sampled repeatedly during the winter season of 1993 to 1994. Personal exposure monitoring for respirable particles (< 2.5 microns) was conducted for the 24-hr period before collection of blood and urine. Particle extracts were analyzed for carcinogenic PAHs. In the pilot study and in the follow-up study, a highly significant correlation between individual personal exposures to PAHs and DNA adducts was found (r = 0.54, p = 0.016; r = 0.710, p < 0.001, respectively). The comet parameter (percentage DNA in tail; %T) correlated with exposures to respirable particles (r = 0.304, p = 0.015). The GSTM1 genotype had a significant effect on urinary PAH metabolites, urine mutagenicity, and comet parameters (% T and tail moment) when the GSTM1 genotype was considered as a single factor affecting these biomarkers. Multifactor analysis o variance considering exposure and adjusting the data for GSTM1, age, and diet showed that the effect of personal exposures to PAHs on the variability of biomarkers (DNA adducts, comet parameters, urine mutagenicity) might be higher than the effect of the GSTM1 genotype. These results show the importance of considering all potential factors that may affect the biomarkers being analyzed.